As I took a stroll outside the Taj Lands End Hotel, one of Mumbai’s premium high end hotels, I was struck by the endless row of water tankers passing up the driveway.Asking the gatekeeper, he told me, that the tankers were delivering water to the hotel.

Pressurized pipes providing only erratic supply, water is delivered by trucks

In my room the hotel, a 5 star hotel that might as well be in Frankfurt, Chicago orHong Kong, I had just taken a shower opening the tap getting hot and cold water as I would expect. Now I realised that this water was not a result of water mains pumping water day and nights, but of tankers filling of the hotel watercontainers, tank after tank.

Water inMumbai is not a given. Mumbai may be the biggest city in India with atotal population of between 20 and 23 million and one of the world’stop 10 centres of commerce in terms of global financial flow, generating5% of India’s GDP. But water is not a given thing. Not even close. At any oneday pressurized water may reach your tap for an hour or two. Be it in Mumbai’s slum or in 5 start hotels, water is not delivered by the 24/7 pressurised water paradigm, that dominates the western urban planning thinking present in the giant water schemes of the Indian government, but rather through an intricate system of localised services, water tankers, bottled water, and of course the omnipresent illegal tapping of communal pipes.